Factors Regulating Immunoglobulin Production by Normal and Disease-Associated Plasma Cells
Jackson, David A.
Elsawa, Sherine F.
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mmunoglobulins are molecules produced by activated B cells and plasma cells in response to exposure to antigens. Upon antigen exposure, these molecules are secreted allowing the immune system to recognize and effectively respond to a myriad of pathogens. Immunoglobulin or antibody secreting cells are the mature form of B lymphocytes, which during their development undergo gene rearrangements and selection in the bone marrow ultimately leading to the generation of B cells, each expressing a single antigen-specific receptor/immunoglobulin molecule. Each individual immunoglobulin molecule has an affinity for a unique motif, or epitope, found on a given antigen. When presented with an antigen, activated B cells differentiate into either plasma cells (which secrete large amounts of antibody that is specific for the inducing antigen), or memory B cells (which are long-lived and elicit a stronger and faster response if the host is re-exposed to the same antigen). The secreted form of immunoglobulin, when bound to an antigen, serves as an effector molecule that directs other cells of the immune system to facilitate the neutralization of soluble antigen or the eradication of the antigen-expressing pathogen. This review will focus on the regulation of secreted immunoglobulin by long-lived normal or disease-associated plasma cells. Specifically, the focus will be on signaling and transcriptional events that regulate the development and homeostasis of long-lived immunoglobulin secreting plasma cells.